The 11 a.m. ceremony, to be held at the 1124 N. Pacific Ave., will include comments from Kelso Mayor David Futcher and representatives from the state Department of Ecology and Lower Columbia CAP.
The blighted property had been a nuisance and public health threat to the community for years, according to the city, which obtained more than $600,000 in funding from Ecology, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the cleanup. In 2010, the city tore down the buildings and hauled away scrap cars, oil drums and more than 3,000 tires. Now the city is beginning to remove contaminated soil from the 3/4-acre parcel, where wrecking yard owners had dumped oil, gas, solvents and engine cleaning agents into the ground since the 1950s.
Although the soil is contaminated with petroleum, lead and cadmium, the oil and metals were found only in shallow soils up to 2 feet below the surface, which will make cleanup relatively easy, according to consultants from Maul Foster & Alongi, Inc.
When the soil cleanup is complete, the property will be shovel-ready for redevelopment. Next summer, CAP will build eight affordable cottages ranging from 900 to 1,200 square feet on the site, which is zoned for multifamily housing. The cottages will be sold through CAP’s Self-Help Housing Program.